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mary pickford - Newest pictures Woman
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Mary Pickford

Mary Pickford (April 8, 1892 – May 29, 1979) was an Academy Award-winning Canadian motion picture star, as well as a co-founder of the film studio United Artists and one of the original 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Known as "America's Sweetheart," "Little Mary" and "the girl with the curls," she was one of the first Canadian pioneers in early Hollywood and one of film's greatest pioneers. Her influence in the development of film acting was enormous. Because her international fame was triggered by moving images, she is a watershed figure in the history of modern celebrity. And as one of silent film's most important performers and producers, her contract demands were central to shaping the Hollywood industry. In consideration of her contributions to American cinema, the American Film Institute named Pickford 24th among the greatest female stars of all time.

Mary Pickford was born Gladys Louise Smith in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Her father, John Charles Smith, was the son of British Methodist immigrants, and worked a variety of odd jobs. Her mother, Charlotte Hennessy, was from an Irish Catholic family. She had two younger siblings, Jack and Lottie Pickford, who would also become actors. To please the relatives, Pickford's mother baptized her in both the Methodist and Catholic churches (and used the opportunity to change her middle name to "Marie"). She was raised Roman Catholic after her father, an alcoholic, left his family in 1895, and died three years later of a cerebral hemorrhage. Charlotte, who had worked as a seamstress throughout the separation, began taking in boarders. Through one of these lodgers, the seven-year-old Pickford won a bit part at Toronto's Princess Theatre in a stock company production of The Silver King. She subsequently acted in many melodramas with the Valentine Company in Toronto, capped by the starring role of Little Eva in Uncle Tom's Cabin, the most popular play of the 19th century.

By late 1900, acting had become a family enterprise, as Pickford, her mother and two younger siblings toured the United States by rail in third-rate companies and plays. After six impoverished years, Pickford gave herself a single summer to land a leading role on Broadway, planning to quit acting if she failed. She landed a supporting role in a 1907 Broadway play, The Warrens of Virginia. The play was written by William C. DeMille, whose brother, the then-unknown Cecil B. DeMille, also appeared in the cast. David Belasco, the producer of the play, insisted that Gladys Smith assume the stage name Mary Pickford.[1] After completing the Broadway run and touring the play, however, Pickford was once again out of work.

On April 19, 1909, the Biograph Company director D. W. Griffith screen-tested her at the company's New York studio for a role in the nickelodeon film Pippa Passes. The role went to someone else, but Griffith was immediately taken with Pickford, who instinctively grasped that movie acting was simpler and more intimate than the stylized stage acting of the day. Most Biograph actors earned $5 a day, but after a single day in the studio, Griffith agreed to pay Pickford $10 a day against a guarantee of $40 a week.[2] Like everyone at Biograph, Pickford played both bit parts and leading roles, playing mothers, ingenues, spurned women, spitfires, slaves, native Americans, and a prostitute. As Pickford said of her whirlwind success at Biograph: "I played scrubwomen and secretaries and women of all nationalities... I decided that if I could get into as many pictures as possible, I'd become known, and there would be a demand for my work." In 1909, Pickford appeared in 51 films — almost one a week. She also introduced her friend Florence La Badie to D. W. Griffith, which launched La Badie's very successful film acting career. [3]

In January 1910 she traveled with a Biograph crew to Los Angeles. Many other companies wintered on the West Coast, escaping the weak light and short days that hampered winter shooting in the East. Pickford added to her 1909 Biographs (Sweet and Twenty, They Would Elope, and To Save Her Soul, to name a few) with films from California. Like the other players in Griffith's company, her name was not listed in the credits, but Pickford had been noticed by audiences within weeks of her first film appearance. In turn, exhibitors capitalized on her popularity by advertising on sandwich boards outside their nickelodeons that a film featuring "The Girl with the Golden Curls," "Blondilocks" or "The Biograph Girl" was inside.[4] Pickford left Biograph in December 1910, and spent 1911 with the Independent Motion Picture Company (later Universal Studios) and Majestic. Unhappy with their creative standards, she returned to work with Griffith in 1912. She made her last Biograph, The New York Hat, then starred on Broadway in the David Belasco production of A Good Little Devil. The experience was the major turning point in her career; Pickford, who had always hoped to conquer the Broadway stage, discovered she missed movie acting. In 1913 she decided to turn her energies exclusively toward film. In the same year, Adolph Zukor formed Famous Players in Famous Plays (later Paramount), one of the first American feature film companies. Pickford left the stage to join his roster of stars. She instantly attracted a following, appearing in such comedy-dramas as In the Bishop's Carriage (1913) and Hearts Adrift (1914). Her appearance as a tomboyish guttersnipe in 1914's Tess of the Storm Country sent her fame into the stratosphere. Pickford's effect in this and similar roles was summed up by the February 1916 issue of Photoplay, "luminous tenderness in a steel band of gutter ferocity"
Pickford earned the right not only to act in her own movies, but to produce them and (through the creation of United Artists) control their distribution. She was also the first actress to receive more than a million dollars per year.[1] Pickford starred in 52 features.

The arrival of sound, however, was her undoing. She played a reckless socialite in Coquette (1929), a role for which she cut her famous hair into a 1920s bob. Pickford's hair had become a symbol of female virtue, and cutting it was front-page news in The New York Times and other papers. Unfortunately, though she won the Academy Award for Coquette, the public failed to respond to these more sophisticated roles. Then in her forties, Pickford was unable to play the teenage spitfires so adored by her fans; nor could she play the soigne heroines of early sound.

She retired from acting in 1933, though she continued to produce films for others, including Sleep, My Love (1948), an update of Gaslight with Claudette Colbert.

Pickford was married three times. She first married Owen Moore (1886–1939), an Irish-born silent film actor, on January 7, 1911. It is believed she became pregnant by Moore in the early 1910s, but had a miscarriage or an abortion; some accounts suggest this led to her inability to have children.[5] The couple had numerous marital problems, notably Moore's alcoholism, insecurity about living in the shadow of Pickford's fame, and bouts of domestic violence. The couple lived apart for several years, and Pickford became secretly involved in a relationship with Douglas Fairbanks.

Pickford and Fairbanks' romance was well along by the time they toured the U.S. in 1918 in support of Liberty Bond sales for the World War I effort, and the phrase "by the clock" became a secret message of their love. (Once during their courtship, Fairbanks was discussing his mother's recent death as the couple was driving. When he finished the story, the car clock stopped. The pair took this as a signal that Fairbanks' late mother approved of their relationship.)

Pickford divorced Moore on March 2, 1920, and married Fairbanks on March 28 of the same year. The tone of their European honeymoon was set by a riot in London as fans tried to touch Pickford's hair and clothes (she was dragged from her car and badly trampled). In Paris, a similar riot erupted at an outdoor market, with Pickford locked in a meat cage for her own protection, then pulled to safety through an open window. The couple's triumphant return to Hollywood was witnessed by vast crowds who turned out to hail them at railway stations across the United States.

The Mark of Zorro (1920) and a series of other swashbucklers gave the popular Fairbanks a more romantic, heroic image, and Pickford continued to epitomize the virtuous but fiery girl next door. Even at private parties, people instinctively stood up when Pickford entered a room; she and her husband were often referred to as "Hollywood royalty." Their international acclaim was so vast that foreign heads of state and dignitaries who visited the White House usually asked if they could also visit Pickfair, the couple's mansion in Beverly Hills.[1]

Dinners at Pickfair were legendary. Charlie Chaplin, Fairbanks' best friend, was often present. Other guests included George Bernard Shaw, Albert Einstein, Elinor Glyn, Helen Keller, H. G. Wells, Lord Mountbatten, Fritz Kreisler, Amelia Earhart, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Noel Coward, Max Reinhardt, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Austen Chamberlain, and Sir Harry Lauder. Lauder's nephew, Matt Lauder, Jr., a professional golfer who owned a property at Eagle Rock, near Pasadena, California, taught Fairbanks to play golf. Pickford and Fairbanks were the first actors to leave their handprints in the courtyard cement at Grauman's Chinese Theatre (Pickford also left her footprints). Nonetheless, the public nature of Pickford's second marriage strained it to the breaking point. Both she and Fairbanks had little time off from producing and acting in their films. When they weren't acting or attending to United Artists, they were constantly on display as America's unofficial ambassadors to the world—leading parades, cutting ribbons, making speeches.

The pressures increased when their film careers both began to founder at the end of the silent era. Fairbanks' restless nature found an outlet in almost-constant overseas travel (something which Pickford did not enjoy). The relationship was fatally damaged when Fairbanks' romance with Lady Sylvia Ashley became public in the early 1930s. This led to a long separation and a final divorce on January 10, 1936. Fairbanks' son by his first wife, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., claimed that his father and Pickford regretted their inability to reconcile for the rest of their lives.

On June 24, 1937, Pickford married her last husband, actor and band leader Charles 'Buddy' Rogers. They adopted two children: Roxanne (born 1944, adopted 1944) and Ronald Charles (born 1937, adopted 1943, a.k.a. Ron Pickford Rogers). As a PBS American Experience documentary noted that Pickford's relationship with her ...


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